OHE September 29, 1999 (Kawiwi-Kaala)

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 10:28:41 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@k12.hi.us>
Subject: Kawiwi-Noname-Ka'ala

With the Waianae-Ka'ala (W-K) trail clearing scheduled for this past Sunday (Sept. 26), I tried to come up with a way to make it more interesting. Don't get me wrong. W-K is a tough climb to Oahu's highest point. But if you've hiked a trail many times it tends to take on a "been there, done that" feeling unless you can give it a new twist.

After picking up GREG KINGSLEY at the Kapolei Shopping Center at 7:38 a.m., the two of us drove along the Leeward Coast bound for the First Hawaiian Bank Parking lot in Waianae Town. Home town of up and coming backpacker LYNN AGENA. We pulled into the lot at about 8 a.m. and accomplished final preps while exchanging small talk with various individuals. The gang of over thirty assembled to receive instructions from MABEL KEKINA who, for some reason, spoke in a soft voice, then everyone car pooled to Waianae Valley. I had the pleasure of riding in the flat bed of DICK COWAN'S truck.

On the way up the water tank road which precedes the W-K trailhead, DICK stopped and let DAVE WEBB and myself out at a faint opening in tall grass. The two of us entered the vegetation at 8:38 a.m. and meandered about haole koa led by ribbons tied periodically to trees until reaching the base of the side ridge which connects directly to Pu'u Kawiwi. During the initial climb, MARK SHORT, armed with his two trusty hiking poles, appeared out of nowhere and joined DAVE and I. The climb, one of the most exciting in the Waianaes involving quite a bit of rock scrambling, was steamy with only a slight breeze to cool us off, the unobstructed sun beating down.

Much further up below the area where one must depart the crest of the side ridge, I began contouring too early and ended up ascending steeply over loose dirt and rock to gain the correct slope. As I approached the crest of Kamaileunu Ridge, I spotted goats under trees above my position so I tramped as inconspicuously as possible lest I startle them into dislodging boulders as was the case on a previous visit to Kawiwi.

Gained the crest of Kamaileunu Ride, turned left (seaward), and, soon after, reached the summit of Pu'u Kawiwi (elev. 2,975 ft) at 9:46 a.m. I immediately sat down, finished consuming the first of three liters of tang, and contacted THOMAS YOZA via walkie-talkie (aka the toy thingees). Once revived, I stood up and enjoyed the outstanding panorama, esp. of the Ohikilolo triangular peak and the sheer fluted cliffs below the peak on the opposite side of Makaha Valley. Although barely visible, I could see a few of the trail clearers across the valley at "three poles".

Instead of waiting for DAVE and MARK to arrive at the summit, I explored makai along Kamaileunu Ridge. I encountered a steep dropoff but with the use of a climbing aid further progress could have been accomplished to a lengthy level section. When my two hiking colleagues arrived, I took them to the dropoff. DAVE and I agreed that another visit to explore toward the normal terminus of the HTMC Kamaileunu hike would be worthwhile. However, due to my desire to catch up with the trail clearing crew, we did not venture any further makai on this day.

At 10:28 a.m. the three of us began the crossover to Noname peak along Kamaileunu Ridge. I led the way and enjoyed the thrill of walking the narrow level dike and experienced the struggle of scaling the smooth large boulders that are shaped like huge teeth (molars). Worked quickly through the ironwoods (elev. 2,656 ft) and acquired altitude as I climbed over additional rock outcroppings. About half way up Noname, I paused to catch my breath and noticed MARK and DAVE beyond the ironwoods. Realizing that my compadres were out of danger and relatively close together, I continued the hike without waiting for them to reach my position. Arrived at the apex of Noname (elev. 3,000 ft) but did not stop moving. Dropped down the other side of the peak (still on Kamaileunu Ridge) via a long tan cable, proceeded between a pile of "sentinel" boulders and entered a canopy as I approached the Waianae Kai Trail. While on Waianae Kai I jogged briefly, overcast skies bringing much needed shade, then methodically ascended to "three poles" reaching the metal utility shafts at 11:35 a.m. (elev. 2,720 ft and the junction with the Waianae-Ka'ala Trail). I radioed THOMAS again but RALPH VALENTINO answered informing me that he, THOMAS and DAYLE TURNER were at "The Rock" chiseling steps into the large boulder to make it safer to traverse.

Before pressing on, I removed my shirt then labored greatly halting frequently (for only a few seconds) to rest as the ridge climbed steadily. At a spot below "The Rock" I joined DAYLE and RALPH with THOMAS literally chipping away at the surface of the stone. These men deserve much praise for their sacrificial act, esp. since none of them hiked to the summit of Ka'ala. I took advantage of their hard work and used the new steps to continue the trek. Accomplished the four steep cable sections and the brief contour, the trail clearers having nicely manicured the trail. Eventually, I came upon "the botonist" group - KAY LYNCH, BRANDON STONE, GINA PANKIWSKYJ (pronounced PAN-Q-SKI), KEN SUZUKI, and KOST PANKIWSKYJ sometime after 12 p.m. at a flat grassy locale not far below the Ka'ala Natural Area Reserve (KNAR). KEN observed steam rising from my body as we ate lunch together so I put my shirt back on.

After consuming the midday meal, our party entered the KNAR, a bog choked with native vegetation, and did some botonizing, KAY'S battle cry being "Wait! You're going to fast!". I observed BRANDON taking notes on a couple of occasions after KOST mumbled the latin name of a particular species. The words of YODA filled my mind "Always two there are, no more no less, a master and an apprentice". Certainly a flora Jedi of the highest order, KEN SUZUKI pointed out interesting foliage as well. While in the bog I couldn't help but recall how LAREDO MURRAY and I came crashing through the region from Kalena two months earlier. Did that make me the PHANTOM MENACE?! :-) The main body of trail clearers passed us going in the opposite direction. Further along, GINA commented that the bog seemed dryer than usual although the plants appeared rather healthy.

Exiting the bog, we made our way to the summit of Mount Ka'ala (elev. 4,025 ft) in front of the FAA main gate. Careful not to step into a series of deep pukas created by the Air Force for the constuction of a new fence, our group skirted the military installation and sat down on the grassy edge of the flat topped summit to enjoy the excellent vistas below of the north shore including Pupukea in the distance, Haleiwa, Waialua and Mokuleia as well as the foothills of the leeward Ko'olau Range, the northern Ko'olau Range itself and the Wahiawa Plain. I even contacted DOUG KLEIN via walkie-talkie as he and WING NG brought up the rear on the HTMC Schofield-Waikane hike!

A slight drizzle fell during the return leg which normally increases the difficulty when negotiating "The Rock" but because of the outstanding work of VALENTINO and YOZA this section did not pose a problem. KEN, the hike coordinator for the October 3rd members only HTMC Waianae-Ka'ala event, broke away from our group to check the stream bed section of lower Waianae Kai. Rather than turning right at "three poles" and remaining on the crest of Kamaileunu Ridge as the trail clearers had done, "the botonists" (minus KEN) and I dropped straight down and emerged from the woods at the watertank to indulge in MABEL KEKINA'S ono snacks.

On the way back to the First Hawaiian Bank parking lot (once again in the flat bed of DICK COWAN'S truck) I had the pleasure of conversing with PETE SOFMAN, his son and female companion (WAHINE (name unknown) in DAYLE TURNER'S Waianae-Ka'ala trail maintenance photo gallery).

== Paka

Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle